Far from being drivel, as another commentator has suggested, History Lessons is one of Straub and Huillet's richest and most rewarding films. A young man from the present interviews a series of ancient Romans about the rise of Julius Caesar (the text is adapted from an unfinished novel by Brecht): what emerges is a brilliant (and funny) demythologization, an analysis of power whose contemporary relevance is underscored both by the young man's obvious modernity and by his 3 long drives through modern Rome. Straub and Huillet refuse to cover over the myriad contradictions in their project (the anachronisms, artifice vs. documentary, etc.); instead they heighten these into a rich and challenging dialectic which demands of the viewer intense critical engagement and the patience to learn new ways of looking and thinking.
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